Dim headlights | Page 2 | Ford Escort Owners Association (FEOA)
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Dim headlights

Discussion in 'Escort Wagons' started by Joey_Twowagons, Sep 26, 2019.

  1. austin86

    austin86 That nut who spends way to much on a escort.

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    i have a few crummy junk head lites I’ll try some things like retro bright on.
  2. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    A friend of mine showed me another "trick" to clear up foggy headlights. She had a single use mosquito wipe cloth which apparently are commercially available. One careful wipe on the headlight seemed to do the solvent "melting" trick.

    I suppose these wipes contain DEET which must dissolve the lens plastic.
  3. Colleen

    Colleen FEOA Member

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    That explains why that stuff feels like it's burning my skin!
    I love the glass lenses. Had an'89 Camry wagon for awhile which had glass lenses, made it look classy, and they were always clear. Our '88 Escort wagon has yellowed opaque lenses beyond cleaning, it's a daytime ride for now.
  4. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    I just returned from a many hundreds of miles trip in the Escort. Some of it was at night, in the rain on a two lane mountain highway. Even with my attention to the headlights, they were pretty poor.

    I'm quite sure my 1964 Ford with glass headlights has better illumination than old
    "modern" plastic headlamps.
  5. Paul A.

    Paul A. FEOA Member

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    I was having problems with some of the lighting on my 93 Lx Wagon when I first brought it home. None of the brake lights, turn signals (except 1 of the fronts), the reverse lights, nor the dome lights worked. The headlights were rather dim as well. I couldn't find any problems within the wiring, but I noticed that the metal inside the bulb sockets themselves had began to get oxidized , and green in one of the lights that had a leak. I sanded what I could and put vinegar on the rest (like resurfacing a dirty penny), and everything came back to life. Also made sure the bases of the light bulbs were free from oxidation or rust. I cleaned the bases all the vinegar and everything came back to life. With the exception of the main dome light bulb, I haven't had to buy or change any other lighting. It made a big difference on my headlights as well as all around the car.

    The thing on ABS was an interesting read. I used to work in the plastic department of a sign shop. Sometimes when really expensive faces and parts got yellowed you could clean them with steel wool to take the top layer off without grooving and gourging the plastic, then use an industrial plastic polish and light buffer to make them clear and shiny again. There are so many different products out there. I would certainly make sure it is rated for abs and you follow the instructions closely. If you put the wrong stuff on the wrong plastic you can pretty much ruin them. Some are simply cleaners, while others essentially dissolve and resurface the plastic. Maybe try on an old set or some from the junkyard if you get some of it. Also I had alright luck with generic auto part store plastic restorer on a really bad set of headlights I had on my previous car ('00 Impala). I think it was the Pep Boys brand, or whatever the cheapest was. They weren't 100% but a considerable improvement.
  6. novanutcase

    novanutcase FEOA Member

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    You sure it's the headlights? You may want to take a look at the wiring. I had an '03 Mustang that had poor headlights. I installed a relay and upgraded the wiring and the lights were visibly brighter.

    John
  7. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    I'm not absolutely sure, but I did a resistance check between the headlamp terminals and battery. I don't recall the numbers, but they were very low and supposedly fine according to an electrician friend.

    I also recently polished the headlamps. However their insides look a bit dirty, now that the weather is warming up I might try to wash them out.
  8. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    From ebay I can get a pair of 2nd gen headlamps new for $50. I like the shiny-ness.
  9. Paul A.

    Paul A. FEOA Member

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    Is there a particular kind of light bulb that is better for them?
  10. novanutcase

    novanutcase FEOA Member

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    True but I don't think his issue is so much the housing or the bulb. Brightness issues typically are either the wiring is old and not allowing full power or the lens is so dirty it's cutting down the lumens being produced by the bulb.

    Depends on what your goal is. If you want super bright headlights you can always upgrade to higher wattage bulbs like Sylvania silver or Ultra Star bulbs.

    John
  11. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    I guess to test the headlight circuitry I could rig up a couple heavy jumper wires to one headlight, and see if that lamp is brighter than the other.
  12. novanutcase

    novanutcase FEOA Member

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    This kit is from Hella, one of the leaders in automotive lighting. It has everything you need to upgrade your headlighting system so that your headlights are getting full power.

    [​IMG]

    If you're interested it's for sale.

    John
  13. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    I like that the kit has loose crimp terminals to make up a wiring harness, you can do a much nicer job making up your own wires that way.
    Paul A. and denisond3 like this.

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